• Note: Much of the history of the Richmond Public Schools was recorded in the context of a segregated society, and the reader should readily discern between pre- and post-desegregation observations. The terms "black," "colored," "Negro," and "white" in this booklet should not be considered offensive as they have been used according to the custom of the particular period. Since 1962, the division has omitted such racial designations from its reports and publications.

Brook (Brooke) Avenue School (Clay School)

  • Clay Street near Brook Road (Avenue)

    Several classes are reported to have been established in 1869, in rented rooms in the vicinity of Clay Street and Brook Avenue (Road). In that same year, the two­-story building was turned over to the School Board by the City.

    According to the 1871-71 report: "Originally constructed for a church, it was converted into 4 school-rooms. The lot is too small and accommodations very scanty-so much so, that only male scholars can be admitted; the structure is of wood and cannot remain in good repair many years."

    in 1873-74, the Supervisor of School Property wrote: ''Parents have declined this year to send their children to it, preferring to patronize paid schools, because of its unfitted condition and locality. There is only one teacher employed and one school room occupied. I recommend the immediate sale of the property..."

    (In the 1875-76 annual report, this property is listed as Clay School.)

    In 1876, he reported: 'The buildings and ground of the Brooke Avenue School were thoroughly overhauled, repaired and improved prior to the beginning of session 1875-76. The school is more acceptable and popular with parents now, having been adapted to accommodate scholars of both sexes. Over one hundred scholars are in attendance this session. I recommend that your Board retain this property for school purposes."

    For a number of years, the Brook School classes were supervised by the principal of nearby Madison School. The school was closed in 1880, and the pupils were transferred to the new Elba School on Marshall Street near Hancock Street.


    1878-1879 - 294

    1872-1873 - J. P. Thomas
    1873-1876 - E. W. Cone
    1876-1877 - Hubbard G. Carlton*
    1877-1880 - George R. Pace

    *Some years later, Mr. Carlton wrote that in 1876-77, he "traded" schools with another principal (Navy Hill for Clay); the following year, he was back at Navy hill.

    Clay School